HUMZA Yousaf’s bid to relaunch his administration with a major policy speech is already dead in the water because of the latest SNP crisis, opposition parties have claimed.

The First Minister’s opponents said his keynote statement to MSPs this afternoon had been “torpedoed” by SNP treasurer Colin Beattie being arrested as a suspect this morning.

The 71-year-old Musselburgh MSP, who has been SNP treasurer for almost two decades, was taken into custody for questioning by detectives probing the party's finances.

The Tories called for him to stand down as a member of Holyrood’s public audit committee.

READ MORE: SNP treasurer Colin Beattie arrested amid party finances probe

Police Scotland has been investigating the SNP’s books since July 2021, after complaints that £660,000 raised specifically for Indyref2 may have been spent on other things.

The party’s former chief executive, Peter Murrell, the husband of Nicola Sturgeon, was arrested and questioned on April 5 before being released without charge.

Officers searched the couple’s home in Glasgow and seized a luxury £110,000 campervan from outside the Dunfermline home of Mr Murrell’s widowed 92-year-old mother.

Mr Yousaf, who has been SNP leader and First Minister for barely three weeks, has been dealing with the constant fallout from his predcessor’s regime since taking over.

He had intended to get on the front foot with a speech at Holyrood setting out a “fresh vision” for the three years leading up to the 2026 election.

However Mr Beattie’s arrest this morning has already overshadowed that.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said:  “Today, Humza Yousaf was supposed to set out his government's priorities, but the complete mess within his party has torpedoed that relaunch.

“This is a government in total paralysis, just at a time when people across the country are struggling to pay the bills, waiting an age for NHS treatment, being left without lifeline ferries and seeing sewage pour into their rivers. 

“Their priorities are not the priorities of this dysfunctional SNP Government.

“Change is coming and Scottish Liberal Democrats will be part of what’s next.”

Mr Yousaf and the SNP now face a decision over whether to remove the party whip from Mr Beattie at Holyrood, which could be done without suspending him from the party.

Suspension from the party would make it impossible for him to continue as treasurer, an elected position open only to members of the party.

The party already lacks auditors, after Johnston Carmichael quit last September.

READ MORE: Who is Colin Beattie and what has he said about the SNP's finances?

Tory MSP Craig Hoy said: “Humza Yousaf has to get a grip of the situation, rather than stand by wringing his hands. 

“He must show some leadership and suspend Colin Beattie – along with Peter Murrell and Nicola Sturgeon. 

“That is the precedent the party set when politicians such as Michelle Thomson and Natalie McGarry were under investigation – and it must be followed here, for the benefit of everyone.

“Colin Beattie should also stand down from membership of the Public Audit Committee until the conclusion of the investigation.”  

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie added: “For too long, a culture of secrecy and cover-up has been allowed to fester at the heart of the SNP.

 “And while the investigation spreads, the SNP is still refusing to take the basic step of suspending MSPs who are the subject of police inquiries.

 “Humza Yousaf’s inaction raises questions - is his priority the cover up to protect the SNP or the people of Scotland?”